HRM in Film

6 June 2011 at 2:07 pm 3 comments

| Peter Klein |

It isn’t every day you can blog about a film called The Human Resources Manager so, well, here it is:

A touching black comedy with a heart of gold, The Human Resources Manager is the story of a jaded and grumpy HR Manager stuck with the duty of delivering the corpse of a former employee to her estranged Eastern European family for burial. . . .

The film is part road trip journey, but it’s mostly a character study of the unnamed worker bee who works as the HR Manager at a large bakery in Israel. When an employee turns up dead in a car bomb explosion, the media links the worker to the bakery. After a defamatory article against the treatment of the deceased employee breaks, the company assigns our reluctant hero, the HR Manager, to band-aid the situation. This means setting the record straight with the press, a particularly suspect tabloid reporter, and making his company look thoughtful and decent. Soon the man finds himself lugging the corpse and coffin around town looking for a next of kin to relieve him of his duty.

I’m putting it on my Netflix list, and considering it for classroom use!

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Management Theory, Teaching.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rafe Champion  |  6 June 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Have you used “Up in the Air” in the classroom? [corporate downsizing]

  • 2. Jim Rose  |  7 June 2011 at 1:14 am


    up in the air is a good suggestion.

    Hoping not to give away part of the plot of an interesting movie – and, yes, I like George Clooney’s work generally – there is one passing reference to the size of the severance packages, if you listen, and you are quick.

    We Australians see such films about workplace layoffs through very different lights to Americans.

    The American employment at will and a culture of laying-off employees and then asking them to leave immediately is foreign to workplace norms down-under.

    Australian employment laws is not much less liberal that those in the USA.

    The usual employment agreement is there must be pay in lieu of any lack of a month’s notice of termination. The working out of 30 days layoff notices is common.

    Why many American employers seem to prefer surplus employees to leave immediately without any transition or hand-over or a phased reduction in production intrigues me.

    One argument about employment at will is adverse selection raises the cost of contracting for other than employment at will.

  • 3. Rafe Champion  |  7 June 2011 at 6:13 pm

    The CEO of a large, new hospital in Sydney (20 years ago) told me why he favoured laying off with pay instead of working out the time of notice. Shortly after the hospital opened the toilets started to overflow and it eventually transpired that a man shovelling dirt onto the sewer pipes as they were laid had been given a weeks notice. So during the week he found an opportunity to disconnect the pipe and cover up the evidence…for a while.

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